Back to the Home Page
Entries tagged as

Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon
two-part story
Music: Francesco Geminiani
Heracles must get the better of a three-bodied giant and steal his cattle.

ON the tiny island of Cadiz at the southern tip of Spain there lived a herd of magnificent red cattle, guarded by a herdsman named Eurytion and his two-headed dog, Orthrus, brother of Cerberus. Their master was Geryon, a giant with three heads and bodies, joined at the hip, and Eurystheus ordered Heracles to steal his entire herd.

Continue reading ›
Six Posts
Bellerophon and the Chimera
Music: John Hebden
The wronged hero vanquishes a dreadful monster with the help of a winged horse, but then it all goes to his head.

AFTER Bellerophon spurned the advances of Anteia, Queen of Tyrins, she had the handsome hero banished to Lycia.

With him went a coded letter to the King, Iobates, who just happened to be Anteia’s father, recommending that Bellerophon be put to death.

Continue reading ›
Odysseus Comes Home
Music: Muzio Clementi
The wandering King was alive after all - unknown to his “widow’s” suitors.

WHEN Odysseus, King of Ithaca, had not returned from the Trojan War even after nineteen years, his nobles, feasting in his palace and neglecting his kingdom, thought only of marrying his grieving ‘widow’, Penelope, and taking his crown.

Continue reading ›
Damon and Pythias
Music: Antonin Dvořak
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.

LIKE most tyrants, Dionysius of Sicily lived in constant fear of treachery. One day, Pythias fell under his suspicion, and Dionysius sentenced him to death.

Pythias requested permission to make his farewells to his family in Greece, promising to come back on the date appointed. Dionysius just laughed at him.

Continue reading ›
Heracles and the Cerynaean Hind
Music: Richard Jones
Eurystheus sends his cousin on another labour, this time hoping the task is too delicate for the big man.

EURYSTHEUS scolded Heracles for soliciting the help of Iolaus against the Hydra, and declared the Second Labour void.

He now realised, however, that Heracles could kill any monster, so this time he commanded him to bring back, alive, a delicate, fleet-footed hind from Cerynaea, for his own private collection.

Continue reading ›
Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Music: George Frideric Handel
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.

AFTER the fiasco of the Cerynaean Hind, Eurystheus abandoned subtlety and went back to basics with the rampaging wild boar of the snow-capped Erymanthus Mountains. Heracles was ordered to bring him back alive, ideally coming to grief in the attempt.

Continue reading ›
Jason and the Golden Fleece
two-part story
Music: Sir George Macfarren
A political rival sends Jason on a hopeless errand, to fetch the golden fleece.

WHEN Jason arrived in the Kingdom of Iolcus wearing one sandal, his uncle King Pelias was anxious. He had stolen the crown from Jason’s father, and had been told that a youth wearing one shoe would one day kill him.

Continue reading ›
All Posts
Tagged Greek Myths (30 posts)
page 1
1 Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon
Heracles must get the better of a three-bodied giant and steal his cattle.
2 Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.
3 Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.
4 Heracles and the Cretan Bull
Heracles seems to be the only one who can keep Poseidon’s rampaging white bull under control.
5 Heracles and the Birds of Lake Stymphalia
Our hero is sent to deal with some man-eating birds, but cannot reach their lakeside refuge.
6 The Tragedy of King Oedipus
Oedipus flees home in an attempt to escape a dreadful prophecy, unware that it is following at his heels.
page 2
7 Heracles and the Augean Stables
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.
8 Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.
9 Bellerophon and the Chimera
The wronged hero vanquishes a dreadful monster with the help of a winged horse, but then it all goes to his head.
10 The Sword of Damocles
A reminder that those with extreme wealth and power have everything but the peace to enjoy it.
11 Heracles and the Cerynaean Hind
Eurystheus sends his cousin on another labour, this time hoping the task is too delicate for the big man.
12 Hera and the Boeotian Bride
Zeus employs a little psychology to effect a reunion with his offended wife.
page 3
13 Apple of Discord
Thetis snubs Eris, goddess of Discord, and sets off a series of events leading to the Trojan War.
14 The Siege of Troy: the Abduction of Helen
Paris, prince of Troy, takes the not unwilling Queen of Sparta back home with him, and sparks twenty years of retribution.
15 The Gordian Knot
Alexander fulfilled the letter of a prophecy and he did become ruler of the world, but it wasn’t quite fair.
16 The Midas Touch
An ancient Greek myth about the dangers of easy wealth.
17 Damon and Pythias
A tale of two friends with complete confidence in each other, and loyal to the death.
18 Pygmalion and Galatea
Pygmalion discovered that prudishness is not the same as purity.
page 4
19 Heracles and the Hydra
The Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.
20 Phrixus and the Golden Fleece
Long before Jason came to claim it, the golden fleece had already saved a boy’s life.
21 Jason and the Golden Fleece
A political rival sends Jason on a hopeless errand, to fetch the golden fleece.
22 Perseus and the Gorgon
When Polydectes, King of Seriphos, sent Perseus to get the Gorgon’s head, he hoped the boy would never come back.
23 Heracles at the Crossroads
The gods had given Heracles every grace of body and mind, but there was one thing he must do for himself: choose how to use them.
24 Hephaestus and the Love Net
When he caught his wife with her lover, the ugly blacksmith of the gods showed that he was not without his pride.
page 5
25 The Hunt for the Wild Boar of Calydon
Artemis, goddess of the hunt, pursued a bitter and relentless vengeance upon a king who carelessly slighted her.
26 Odysseus Comes Home
The wandering King was alive after all - unknown to his “widow’s” suitors.
27 Orpheus and Eurydice
Orpheus would lose his beloved wife Eurydice to death not once, but twice.
28 Theseus and the Minotaur
A warning not to be forgetful of others, even in triumph.
29 Heracles and the Nemean Lion
Sending a hero off to ‘certain death’ never seems to work out...
30 Perseus and Andromeda
Wielding the Gorgon’s head, Perseus saves a beautiful maiden from a ravening sea-monster.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Active or Passive?

Use each of the verbs below in either the active or the passive form. Can you use both forms?

Request. Set. Table.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Nest’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘cowardly’ (6 letters), and ‘historic Greek victory in 479 BC’ (7 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FAST and finish with SLOW.
Practise your twelve times table against the clock.
Do you know ‘current of cold air’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. fascinator’ (3 letters)?
Try writing complete sentences using these adjectives in the predicative position.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic